On the Loss of a Legend

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Oscar de la Renta was without a doubt, one of one of the most influential men in fashion. His career spanned 6 decades, throughout which trends evolved and cultural tides shifted, but his mantra of timelessness, elegance, and grace never wavered. Below are some of the de la Renta moments that are iconic in my memory, and some of my favorite quotes from the beloved designer.

Jackie Kennedy

“Elegance is a discipline of life.”


“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”


“There is always an emotional element to anything that you make.”


“Be the designer of your own destiny.”


“It’s not about what you wear, but about how you live your life”

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North West Makes Her Fashion Editoral Debut

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The world can’t get enough of baby Nori and it seems she is already ready to take on the world of fashion. North West is making her modeling debut in the fall issue of CR Fashion Book drenched Chanel and half-carat Lorraine Schwartz diamond studs. The shoot was styled by Carine Roitfeld, and appears with a quote from Karl Lagerfeld that says: “It’s never too early to care about fashion.” I totally agree. 

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The Lucrative Career of a Fashion Blogger

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As social media and the internet continues to drive innovation in shopping and fashion, bloggers are turning their hobbies into a 6 figure career. Brands and retailers are focused on driving sales and will set aside large budgets to enlist the help of today’s most popular and influential fashion bloggers. Expenses have gone up from at least $5,000 five years prior to $10,000 to $15,000 today, WWD reports. On top of that, bloggers gain cash from affiliate links (basically, commissions from retailers for online client referrals); brand coordinated efforts (which typically include collaborating with brands on small collections); launching their own brands; and ad income from their sites. All that can signify seven-figure yearly earnings, WWD says. Bloggers are getting to be brands in themselves, turning their insights on design into businesses.

A standout amongst the most appealing of these bloggers is 32-year-old Bryan Gray-Yambao, of Bryanboy. Despite the fact that he’s not a mogul simply yet, he says he makes enough to “live comfortably and be able to not wear samples and buy my clothes retail.” Comfortably enough, indeed, to have had the capacity to turn down a six-figure editorial position offer from a significant publication, and additionally an offer from a fashion brand to design three handbags for $75,000. A year ago, he was paid $40,000 to appear at the ribbon cutting function at Bangkok’s Siam Center.

Rewardstyle, a system that helps bloggers (and Youtube stars, magazines, and sites) monetize what they post by making commissions off the things they expound on. Some top stars, say they can make more than $80,000 a month from associate deals alone.* Based on Rewardstyle’s information, these top bloggers (a large portion of whom declined to examine particular pay figures) incorporate Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad (imagined above), Nashville-based Mary Seng of Happily Gray, Chrissy Ott of The Perfect Palette and Erin Gates of Elements of Style.* Other bloggers transforming their individual style into lucrative businesses include Bag Snob, a web journal started in 2005 by Tina Craig and Kelly Cook. In the not so distant future, the website produced a tote line, Snob Essentials. As per WWD, industry sources anticipated their business will soon tip into the seven-figure region. 25-year-old Leandra Medine has made her name with her site Man Repeller, which resulted in a book deal. There’s also Salt Lake City-based Rachel Parcell, 23, of Pink Peonies, who began her blog two years back as an individual online diary. It was supposed to be more private than Facebook, an approach to keep family and companions updated on what she’s doing. Presently, she’s evaluated to be making at any rate $960,000 from subsidiary projects alone in a year, in light of Rewardstyle’s information -with included pay from associations like Tresemmé and J.Crew.

Progressively, its these bloggers’ social channels -particularly their Instagrams- -that help their followings into the millions. In January, to to advantage of these followings, Rewardstyle launched Liketoknow:it, an apparatus that lets bloggers make their Instagram posts shoppable. Clients sign up to get messages with immediate connections to where to purchase that adorable skirt they saw in their most loved blogger’s Instagram post. Since March, its made $1 million in sales. Maybe consider quitting your day job to start blogging about shoes.

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Lehann Maupin Gallery Hosting Bul Exhibit

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The Lehann Maupin gallery in the Lower East Side is hosting an exhibit by South Korean artist Lee Bul. Until June 21, 2014, curious viewers can enjoy this forth exhibit by Bul. Bul’s work is a futuristic, cyborgian investigation into the tensions underpinning utopian idealism and humanities urges to transcend the physical world. Influenced by her home nation’s meteoric rise into the modern age during the second half of the 20th century, Bul’s work continues to be striking and thought provoking.
Bul has long looked critically at the idealized version of the human form and how it decays, corrupts and dissatisfies. Her work shows how physical, spiritual and intellectual boundaries are transcended as humanity and technology continue to converge. With a distinct feeling of science fiction, Bul’s most recent exhibit continues to expand the viewers understanding of the perfect future we ultimate wish to create and inhabit. Drawing on the classic images of a utopian future, Bul intensifies the isolation and apathy of the future humanity is creating.
The installations in the exhibit hang from ceilings, mount walls, and occupy whole rooms. The grandest of the installations is Via Negative II. The immersive piece stretches into the spiritual realm, creating a maze of corridors all fixed with fractured, mirrored surfaces. The labyrinth leads into a central chamber, filled with illuminated mirrors, given the sense of infinity and a closeness to some central spiritual entity. The effect is jarring and disorientating in the best kind of way. The piece is suggesting that the devine in unknowable, alluding to the apophatic theology, which posits that the Devine transcends being and can only be defined by stating what it isn’t. This unknowable quality of the devine is why Bul uses mirrors so heavily. Mirrors dont have any color or form to them independently and can only be understood through their relationship to the viewer.
The exhibit, taken as a whole, encourages the viewer to think about the fading dichotomy between humanity and technology and the philosophical implications of those blurring lines. Bul’s latest work only solidifies her place as one of South Korea’s most prominent artists.

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Normcore is Still Misunderstood

Back in October 2013, K-Hole gave the fashion industry a new word to play around with: normcore. It’s been more than six months since it was born, and a lot of people still have absolutely no idea what it means.

The LA Times labeled it as an “a la carte, mix-and-match, label-agnostic approach to fashion.” They said that it’s a conscious effort to look effortless.

A fashion photographer based in New York said that the fashion industry wants “the cool kids downtown on a dirty couch in tube socks” thing. It seems as though normcore has made it possible for just about anyone to be a fashion model.

 But the NY Times gave three definitions of normcore. And the third one is the one that caught my attention. An internet meme that turned into a massive in-joke that the news media keeps falling for. Damn. I just fell for it as well.

The style, which I think has been appropriately described as “dressing like a tourist,” has become the ultimate fashion statement. It has also become the ultimate joke.

Or has it?

The concept began in Brooklyn and spread rapidly. It was considered the way to stand out in Bushwick in 2014 – a pair of New Balance sneakers and Jerry Seinfeld jeans.

And even though it started in Brooklyn, it’s spread across the nation. Lucky has offered a normcore shopping guide. And now, it’s becoming a huge movement in France.

K-Hole, the originator of the term, didn’t want it to be a fashion trend; instead, it was supposed to represent a broader sociological attitude. Alternative types were spending too much energy trying to define themselves as individuals that they lost the joy of belonging to a group. K-Hole envisioned something different.

“You might not understand the rules of football, but you can still get a thrill from the roar of the crowd at the World Cup,” K-Hole’s report read.

Lauren Sherman, a writer for Elle.com, calls the whole movement a fraud. She described it as dressing like an uncool dad from the ‘90s. Adults who were teenagers during the Seinfeld age, Sherman wrote, recall the white sneakers and ill-fitting jeans.

The backlash, however, seemed to reinforce the trend. Now, six months later, it’s still on the rise. So go into your dad’s closet and grab some jeans. They probably won’t fit well.

Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk to the Catwalk

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Jean Paul Gaultier, former creative director of Hermès for seven years, is a French Haute Couture and ready-to-wear fashion designer. Recently, he had a very successful showing of his critically acclaimed exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, at the Brooklyn Museum. This was only one stop on the exhibition’s tour, which will go on to museums abroad in cities like London, Paris and Sydney.

The traveling show, curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, was hosted in Brooklyn from October to February and attracted crowds and visitors from all over the area. The Brooklyn Museum’s presentation featured 140 haute couture and pret-a-porter ensembles, in addition to audiovisual materials, sketches, early designs and photographs created between the early 70s and 2010, as well costumes the designer created for performers like Madonna and Kylie Minogue.

The Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibit was first showed in Montreal in 2011 and developed by Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the French couturier’s label. Since then has traveled to cities like San Francisco, Madrid, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Brooklyn and London. After wrapping up in Brooklyn, the exhibit is preparing to arrive in Paris’ Grand Palais. The exhibit is scheduled to open April 1, 2015 and ends August 3, 2015 so mark your calendars.

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Lupita Nyong’o, From Unknown to ‘It’ Girl in Less Than a Year

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Lupita Nyong’o has shot into fame in recent months with her fashion and her acting skills. When Steve McQueen started to despair after seeing over 1000 actors for the role of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, he came across the tape from this unknown Kenyan actress. He was in disbelief, but she was perfect for the role. Her humility shines through even after starring and winning awards for the first feature film she was in after drama school. She says it is “not a badge of honor” but only a lucky break. Fast forward to present day, Lupita is a standout star, having won SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards and receiving nominations for the Golden Globes and Oscars. Red carpet season is in full swing the fresh faced beauty walked the Red Carpet with bold, eye-catching, elegant gowns.

From a prominent Kenyan family, Nyong’o was born in Mexico City, where her father had relocated her family after her uncle went missing. Lupita received her name in Kenyan tradition, being named after happenings at the time of birth. Being in Mexico, Lupita, a form of Guadalupe and the country’s patron saint, was everywhere. Although carrying a bit of Mexican culture with her, she moved back to Kenya with her parents before she was a year old. During college, she returned to America and after some soul-searching, applied for the Yale School of Drama. Weeks before graduating, her manager encouraged her to audition for 12 Years a Slave and a week later she was meeting the casting director in LA and then McQueen in Louisiana. She got the part and six weeks later was rehearsing scenes in New Orleans. It was a whirlwind of events to get her where she is today. McQueen went on to say “You know, there’s been a lot said about dark-skinned black actresses and the limitations they have within film. Well, I just hope that directors and other creative people have the idea of putting her in great and interesting projects, because she’s extraordinary.”

Since her film debut, she’s become one of the faces of Miu Miu, filmed the upcoming action-thriller Non-Stop with Liam Neeson, has been nominated for an Oscar and had her first run-in with the paparazzi heading home from L.A. “I don’t know who they were waiting for, but they definitely chased me down, which is a startling, disturbing experience,” she says as her driver navigates the frigid Manhattan streets on his way to the Brooklyn Museum, where Nyong’o plans to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. “I did not expect it. I went into flight mode.” Nor did she imagine that she’d practically become a national hero in Kenya, where one Nairobi church reportedly held a thanksgiving Mass in her honor and the president sent out a tweet to congratulate her on the nomination. “There are so many highlights that are no longer highlights,” she says evenly. “I’m living a very swollen life.”
Refering to the recent overwhelming awards season, Nyong’o says, “I’ve been in a bubble. I haven’t been out much. I haven’t gotten used to being recognized.” More than that, “I was blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of the project I was in or what it was going to mean for the world.”

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Steve Stoute Debuts “Tanning of America” Docu-series

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There have been a lot of conversation about marketing/advertising mastermind and mogul Steve Stoute, who is known for his expertise in hip-hop culture and branding. In an interview today with Power 105.1′s The Breakfast Club, Stoute talked about his book Tanning of America, which has been repurposed into a four-part documentary series airing on VH1.

During the interview Stoute talked about some pop culture icons like Jayz, Kanye, 50 Cent, Nas, Drake and Rick Ross and the deals they have been able to close or are working on. He credited these stars for their contributions to his business and society at large.  He was asked to comment on various brands, but the one where he shared some great gems for was World Star Hip-Hop. Lee ‘Q’ O’Denat, a Hollis, Queens-based high school dropout, founded the site in 2005 calling it the “CNN of the Ghetto.” Stoute recommended that Q begin to rate the videos in order to pull in move advertisers for the kinds of content they were interested in and differentiate the “ghetto” from the important. He also spoke about record labels who try to sign 360 deals, encompassing marketing, sponsorship, endorsement and other kinds of deals, without the proper resources or human capital to do so. There is clearly a shift happening in the worlds of marketing, advertising and entertainment as the lines become more and more blurred.

“We all like hip hop culture. That culture has no color,” he said. “I think that lead to a generation of kids who don’t see color anymore. That mental complexion is what I dubbed of tanning and when I wrote the book a it was a good way to discuss race without sounding racist.”

Part three of the docu-series airs tonight (Feb. 26) at 11pm on VH1.

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CFDA Discusses New Strategy: New York Fashion Week Makeover, Stronger Partnerships, More

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2014 has brought about many changes including a new strategy for the CFDA, the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Last year, they hired Boston Consulting group in order to revamp its mission and overall brand for the years to come. “[The mission] needed to be clarified,” Jean-Marc Bellaiche, managing director at Boston Consulting Group(BCG), told Business of Fashion.”We needed to paint a precise picture of what each member, and all of the stakeholders, get from the association.”

The consulting group worked closed with the council’s Steven Kolba and Diane Von Furstenberg to rework the mission statement. They were able to reduce it from 6 sentences to one line: “The mission of the CFDA is to strengthen the influence and success of American Fashion Designers in the global economy.” The mission statement is reflective of the four areas that the CFDA will target: NY Fashion Week, education, partnerships and the manufacturing industry in the city. New York fashion week should be easier to navigate with a schedule that is less crowded and jammed with shows, while also taking into consideration the multiple locations throughout the city in which the shows are held. The Culture Shed at Hudson Yards is being considered as the main show space upon its completion in 2017.

“What’s the value of a centralized venue? How do you make that meaningful to designers? That’s where Diane as an individual – and as the president of the CFDA and part of the Culture Shed board – comes in, and what the BCG study has helped us understand,” Kolb said.

In the arena of education and partnerships, the CFDA has plans to strengthen relationships with existing partners, scholarship initiatives, and international schools. Through the consulting project, the CFDA became aware of the weak partnerships that lacked structure and strategy. “Some of the partnerships had been ad hoc because the CFDA was getting hit up every day with different offers,” Sarah Willersdorf, principal at BCG, told Business of Fashion.”We gave different suggestions on how to categorize [these partnerships], understand the value for the designers, how they should be priced and which should be strategic versus one-off.” President von Furstenberg was please with the outcome of their work with BCG, comparing it to working with a therapist.

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